Voters heading to the polls in 2020 need information to make a plan for safe voting as well as the candidates and the issues. Use this toolkit to be an educated voter, or find out how your nonprofit can help.

Election season is an important time to ensure that priority is given to protecting and strengthening the health and economic security of older adults in your community. Your voice and your vote are critical in this election.

Use these tools to take action today. New information will be added throughout the year, so continue to visit this page for more resources.

Don’t miss the Alliance for Justice Bolder Advocacy project’s new Contested Election Resources for Nonprofits and National Vote at Home Institute information on each state’s ballot counting and election certification processes.

Get started with 2 easy steps:

Sign up for our advocacy alerts to get the latest news and take action when the time is right.
Visit our Election 2020 page to learn more about your state’s election rules and candidates and register to vote.

Voter Resources

NCOA Election Action Center: Visit the Election 2020 page of the NCOA Action Center to learn more about voting in your state, look up information on candidates, and register to vote.

Healthy Voting: Access tips for voting healthy by mail or in person from this project of the American Public Health Association, Center for Civic Design, Center for Tech and Civic Life, National Association of County and City Health Officials, and We Can Vote. Read the blog post, How to Vote Healthy this Election, for more information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters (last updated June 22, 2020)

American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging: Bifocal Journal Featured Article, Seniors Beware of Voting ID Theft Scams

National Voter Registration Day: Resources include tips to get #VoteReady in 2020.

Vote411.org: Use this League of Women Voters resource to register to vote, look up polling places, learn what’s on the ballot, and access state-specific COVID-19 information.

Vote.org: Learn how, where and when to vote (including early voting), including state-specific COVID-19 information.

Bipartisan Policy Center Elections Project: Read posts on Election 2020 including Minimizing COVID-19 Health Risks When Voting and Voting By Mail Counts.

National Vote at Home Institute: Learn more about voting by mail from this collaboration of state and local election officials and other experts, and updates on the election certification processes across the states.

Vote Early Day: Access their tools to find out if early voting is an option in your state.

FiveThirtyEight: Check their How To Vote In The 2020 Election page for updates on voting options.

Accessible Voting Act of 2020: Learn about the bill introduced by Senators Casey and Klobuchar to address voting barriers of older adults and individuals with disabilities. NCOA has endorsed the legislation.

Nonprofit Resources

Nonprofits that serve older adults also have roles to play during an election. You can still advocate on behalf of those you serve, which in 2020 not only means raising issues with policymakers, but also ensuring the right to vote – safely – is protected. Included are resources to avoid running afoul of nonprofit restrictions on political activity and lobbying.

NCOA Advocacy Toolkit: Access information on nonprofit activity, successful engagement strategies, and current federal aging policy issues.

Alliance for Justice: Review guidance on nonprofit advocacy from the Bolder Advocacy project including election-year activities and a new  podcast. NEW tips added: Contested Election Resources for Nonprofits.

Nonprofit VOTE: Access resources on voter registration and engagement, candidate engagement, issue advocacy, including toolkits for election season and state-specific information. Read the blog post, 6 Ways Nonprofits Can Educate Older Voters this Election, for more information.

Independent Sector: Review Nonprofit Voice 2020 materials on voter and candidate engagement (including Nonprofit Vote tips), and policy issues important to the nonprofit sector.

Candidate engagement: Our Effective Advocacy at Home and Recess Advocacy tips still apply, yet it’s more important than ever to do your homework about candidates and consider digital engagement using some of NCOA’s Reaching a Remote Audience advice.

Issues and Candidates

Candidate Questions

Campaigning may look a lot different in 2020, it also means your U.S. Senators and Representative are likely back home for longer periods of time. So whether you run into them in your community as you would any other neighbor, or you join a virtual town hall, below are some questions you should consider asking on behalf of older adults.

1. Medicare
Many consider Medicare to be a model for universal health insurance coverage. But there are many services that Medicare does not cover, including dental, vision, long-term care, and hearing aids. In addition, out-of-pocket costs for low-income beneficiaries continue to be unaffordable, in part due to harsh asset eligibility tests, and available assistance is less generous than for those under age 65. How do you propose to strengthen Medicare and make high quality coverage more affordable?

2. Medicaid and Long-Term Care
Millions of older Americans and people with disabilities depend on the Medicaid program to cover their long-term care needs, often after spending down their life savings. While nursing home care is mandatory under Medicaid, home care coverage is optional. In addition, the program has long waiting lists and been threatened with drastic cuts in recent years. How do you propose to protect and strengthen Medicaid, and improve access to home and community-based services?

3. Retirement Security
Older Americans especially those from marginalized minority populations, continue to struggle with affording and accessing basic needs such as health care, healthy food, housing, and transportation. What is your commitment to helping older adults meet their basic needs? How will you protect and strengthen Social Security and pensions, and improve employment opportunities, so that older adults can achieve greater retirement security and afford these basic needs?

4. Healthy Aging
Evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs can reduce hospital and emergency room visits and improve health outcomes and quality of life. For example, older adults who participate in community and online programs learn to better manage common chronic diseases such as diabetes, and improve balance and strength to prevent disabling, expensive falls. Unfortunately, many older adults who can benefit from these community-based programs cannot access them. What is your plan for making proven health promotion and disease prevention programs more available to older adults?

5. Investment in Aging Services
Services for older adults and their families, such as meals, falls prevention, health promotion, caregiver support, and other services addressing social determinants of health, keep older adults secure, healthy, and independent in their own homes. Yet, cost effective Older Americans Act programs are drastically underfunded with growing waiting lists as federal investments have failed to keep pace with inflation and the growing size and diversity of the older adult population. What will you do to reverse the downward trend in support of aging services and make overdue investments in programs that support seniors’ health, independence, and economic security?

6. COVID-19 and Older Adults
Services for older adults and their families, such as meals, falls prevention, health promotion, caregiver support, and other services addressing social determinants of health, keep older adults secure, healthy, and independent in their own homes. Yet, cost effective Older Americans Act programs are drastically underfunded with growing waiting lists as federal investments have failed to keep pace with inflation and the growing size and diversity of the older adult population. What will you do to reverse the downward trend in support of aging services and make overdue investments in programs that support seniors’ health, independence, and economic security?

Presidential campaign positions

Below are links to information that candidates have provided on their campaign websites that is relevant to benefits and services for older adults.

What others are saying